Please welcome Matthew Beggs to EdutweetOZ

blfbRzAa_400x400Please tell us a little about your background in education. Why did you decide to become involved in education? What are some of the roles you’ve had and what does your current role involve?

I actually realised this year that I’ve been teaching for ten years and I cannot believe how fast the time has gone. I entered education and teaching after completing a degree in media studies and attempting to make it as a writer for a period of time. Teaching was always something in my mind as a potential career and it was something recommended to me by others. I have been teaching at the current school where I work in the western suburbs of Melbourne for the past five years and am currently the Grade 5/6 team leader. The previous two years to this I was teaching 3/4 and then previous to that 1/2. This year is my first year as a team leader and it has definitely creates some challenges. At the same time it has created some wonderful opportunities to extend myself as a teacher that I do not think that I could have been able to do in previous years.

Who or what keeps you inspired and motivated in your work?

I think every day I turn up to work there is always something exciting and inspiring. Whether it be the student who has the “a-ha moment” or the opportunity to undertake new and exciting experiences, there is always something to motivate and challenge me. I think the fact that this year I have moved to a year level that I have never taught before is something that has motivated me to take greater risks as a teacher, which ultimately has led to me being more motivated to deliver the best possible educational experience that I can for the students that I work with.

What do you see as some of the biggest rewards and challenges for people working in education today?

I think one of the greatest rewards in education is still that moment where you can see the lightbulb goes off. The moment that a student you are working with achieves something that you might of initially felt was impossible is always such a rewarding thing. The small moments can sometimes lead to moments that are much larger and I think these small moments can sometimes be forgotten with the amount of noise that we are exposed to. A challenge that I feel in education today is the fact there is so much noise for everyone to navigate. It is becoming increasingly hard to distinguish which voices should be listened to and which voices should be ignored and ultimately this has an impact on both teachers and students.

If you had the ability to make changes to the education system in Australia, what would you do?

I think there needs to be greater interaction between those who are training teachers and schools working at the coalface. I feel that there needs to more done from all parties involved to help prepare teachers for the realities for the workforce. If more is not done to help bridge the gap that exist between teaching rounds and the reality of the workforce, teachers will continue to burn out as the pressures on them continue to increase.

What role do you see EduTweetOz playing on the education scene in Australia and what are your hopes for the account this week?

One of the things that EduTweetOz does so well is it allows for different voices to be heard in a constructive manner. I think it helps to keep myself grounded as a teacher as I am able to see an amazing array of different examples of phenomenal teaching. By allowing for more voices to be heard, we are ultimately helping to promote the collegiate nature that we all seem to strive for.

I think for myself this week it is another chance to connect with those within the educational community and find what ends up making us tick as teachers. I think we seem to talk a lot about what drives us within the classroom it is always nice to reflect on what drives us outside the classroom (also what helps keep us sane outside the classroom). I think by trying to help myself and others identify our passions and to connect with others who might inspire us to be better as teachers and aren’t we always learning anyway? This account is a wonderful reflection of the Australian educational community and I hope that I can be a small part of this.

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RoCur – Rotation Curation

An interesting but brief analysis of our RoCur account. Do you have any answers to the questions posed?

Marginal Notes

I’m in the midst of ‘data walking’ and rereading the interviews, blog posts, tweets and observations I’ve made over the past year or so. One episode opened up when I was copied in on a tweet by Aaron:

The post referred to in the tweet was one in which Aaron was reflecting back after concluding a week occupying the ‘chair’ of a RoCur account, @EduTweetOz. RoCur is Rotation Curation and is where a different person each week takes the helm of social media account, usually Twitter. For @EduTweetOz:

“Each week a different educator will take responsibility for tweeting. We hope that people will use the space to share their experiences, pose questions, engage in dialogue about current educational issues and help each other out.
Guest tweeters and other educators will be showcased on this blog to share their passion for education with the wider community.”

This was a…

View original post 681 more words

This week we welcome Tamika Worrell


Please tell us a little about your background in education. Why did you decide to become involved in education? What are some of the roles you’ve had and what does your current role involve?

I’ve just completed my Bachelor of Secondary Education majoring in English and Society and Culture. Going down the education path made sense to me as I had always loved learning, since my first prac I knew teaching was the right career for me as I felt so at home in the classroom. Education has cemented my passion for closing the educational gap of Indigenous students and supporting them the best I can within whatever role I’m involved in. Within my studies I’ve been involved in teachmeets, received the ETA NSW Beginning teacher scholarship as well as an amazing scholarship that allowed me to undertake a practicum at an International school in Hong Kong.  I’m currently working for Reconciliation Australia on the Narragunnawali team, promoting reconciliation in schools and early learning services. Our new platform is completely free and hosts a range of PL and curriculum resources. (https://www.narragunnawali.org.au). I’m also an Indigenous Educator at the Australian Museum, sharing cultural knowledge with the school groups that attend to museum to learn more about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and histories. I also serve on the Board of Youth Action, the peak body for young people in NSW as a young person member.

Who or what keeps you inspired and motivated in your work?

My culture keeps me inspired and motivated, even though i’m still on my own cultural learning journey I am always driven by the cultural knowledge I have to offer students and other educators when it comes to teaching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and histories. My family definitely motivates me as well, they have supported me to pursue anything my heart desired.

What do you see as some of the biggest rewards and challenges for people working in education today?

We are educating young people and preparing them for jobs that don’t exist yet, we’re working with innovators and the young people that will be the leaders of tomorrow, and if we can help them on their learning journey that is massive reward. As well as instilling resilience and growth mindsets into our students and seeing them thrive in areas beyond our own disciplines. Ensuring we are helping to create culturally literate citizens who can navigate their own worlds when they leave school. I think one of the biggest challenges is time, we have more to get done than ever and we are still working with the same amount of time leading teachers to become disheartened and run down, we need to practice self care in order to combat this.

If you had the ability to make changes to the education system in Australia, what would you do?

Further embed Indigenous perspectives and support teachers in order to implement these effectively from a local level.

What role do you see EduTweetOz playing on the education scene in Australia and what are your hopes for the account this week?

I see EduTweetOz connecting educators and forming a large supporting network of teachers to support and assist each other, leading to innovations in education. I hope that on the account this week I can aid in helping people think about Indigenous cultures and histories beyond NAIDOC week, thinking about the land we live and work on and the languages and songlines that exists within these lands that have always existed. We need to support all students in the classroom to learn about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and histories, regardless of whether we have Indigenous students in our classroom of not. As well as connecting educators to prominent Indigenous figures and sources for further information for general teaching and knowledge.

This week’s host is Penny Bentley @penpln

Please tell us a little about your background in education. Why did you decide to become involved in education?

I became a secondary maths and science teacher in the 1980’s after working in medical research for several years. Talking science with teens seemed way more appealing than doing research with rats.

What are some of the roles you’ve had and what does your current role involve?

Throughout my 25 years on the frontline of classroom teaching I had many roles, some more suited to my skills and knowledge than others. Teaching maths and science from years 7 to 10, along with senior chemistry, formed most of my teaching load from year to year. Thinking back now, was it that year 8 home economics class, the year 10 PE class or the year 9 Outward Bound camp that almost put an end to my teaching career long before I was ready?  I had leadership roles too, but much preferred to co-ordinate my busy science classes than hundreds of students in year level assemblies.

Six years ago I left the classroom, once described by Schon (1995) as a place where ‘the turbulent world of practice’ occurs. I’d had enough of practice, but not of learning more about it. Now I’m writing up my PhD thesis on how Australian teachers experience professional learning on the open Web.

Who or what keeps you inspired and motivated in your work?

I guess it’s all the wonderful teachers I interact with on the open Web who share their experiences of ‘the turbulent world of practice’. The willingness of teachers to be there for each other, to share resources and ideas and participate in conversations. That keeps me inspired and motivated. Also, I love exploring archives in the public domain. To read the original words of Bacon, Darwin, Dewey, Pierce, Curie and so on…that’s truly amazing.

What do you see as some of the biggest rewards and challenges for people working in education today?

I’ll never forget the day I first connected to the internet. Back in those days it was the small image of a moving globe that signified a connection, and it sent shivers down my spine. Being able to access information from home was transformative for me, as was the ability to communicate with others and create digital artefacts as the interactive Web evolved. I believe one of the biggest rewards for teachers today is the amazing connectivity and openness of the Web as a means of opening our eyes and the eyes of our students. Of course, this biggest reward brings with it many challenges.

If you had the ability to make changes to the education system in Australia, what would you do?

Ever since I’ve been in the education system people have been making changes to ‘fix’ something that’s broken rather than support the system to evolve. Change takes time and more than the ability of one, so I’d be looking to connect with others to come on board for the long haul. That’s what we’re doing here on social media. Having ongoing conversations with people from diverse backgrounds related to education, and it’s a good place to start. Change lies in the willingness of people to listen to and learn from each other. To respectfully engage with teacher educators, with educational researchers, with teachers on the frontline of practice, with politicians, parents, students and a whole range of experts.  In answering this question, I’d encourage everyone to think more about what it is that needs changing and how we can bridge the gap between the different kinds of knowledge everyone brings to the conversation. I’d also ask everyone to take a critical look at what’s happening right now. Should our professional learning and our children’s education be directed and controlled by multinational edtech companies? Should we be giving our student’s learning history (data) away for these companies to use as they wish? Should STEM education focus on coding and robotics or global problems as climate change, disease and poverty.

What role do you see EduTweetOz playing on the education scene in Australia and what are your hopes for the account this week?

EduTweetOz enables the conversations I mentioned above and I hope to chat about all of these issues. Thank’s for giving me this opportunity.

Jo Prestia is this week’s host (@JoPrestia)

Please tell us a little about your background in education. Why did you decide to become involved in education? What are some of the roles you’ve had and what does your current role involve?

 I always wanted to be an art teacher. I’ve spent 30 years in Catholic secondary schools in two states, mostly in Curriculum leadership positions but always teaching art. Four years ago I decided to pursue other avenues but always in education. These days I wear a number of hats. I have my own education consultancy business, working with teachers, students and Learning Support Officers (LSO) in schools and through Critical Agendas. I mostly facilitate workshops to do with special needs, disability, learning, boys ed, coaching and differentiation. I also work at Monash University as a tutor with pre-service teachers and with English Connect that runs programs for international students including Peer Support (assistance with academic writing) Let’s Chat (conversational English program), Connecting Across Cultures workshops and Orientation workshops for those newly arrived. In my spare time I enjoy doing CRT (Casual Relief Teaching).

Did I mention I am a part-time PhD student? My research is in the area of special needs – mainly interested in collaborations between teachers and LSOs.

Who or what keeps you inspired and motivated in your work?

 Teaching for me is all about learning. I am inspired daily by the learning and collaboration of both educators and students. I love learning with them and sharing their learning journeys. This is what motivates me in my current multi-roles. Every day is a new experience. I get to visit new places, different schools and have the opportunity to learn with different audiences. In fact one of my biggest fears is turing up to the wrong place! Everyday I check and double check where I am supposed to be – it’s not a chore but I like to think of it as an adventure – a new one every day. I love what I do!

On those days where I get the chance to stay home and work on my research, I like to hook into groups such as PhD Owls who support and assist me with just getting on with it. Several times a week I also enjoy twitter chats. My PLN inspires, challenges and motivates me to be the best educator I can be. I love that too!

What do you see as some of the biggest rewards and challenges for people working in education today?
Inclusion.

 If you had the ability to make changes to the education system in Australia, what would you do?

 Never allow the system to stagnate. There is one constant in education – change. We shouldn’t be surprised, but we should be ready to ensure that students always come first. Change for the sake of change in unhealthy – we must evaluate, communicate, collaborate and reflect, then decide.

What role do you see EduTweetOz playing on the education scene in Australia and what are your hopes for the account this week?
EduTweetOz is an avenue where educators can do just as I described above. A platform where we can evaluate, communicate, collaborate and reflect. It will be no surprise to anyone having read thus far that this week the bulk of our conversation will centre on inclusion, special needs and disabilities. I’m looking forward to the conversation. Thank you for the opportunity to host EduTweetOz this week. I hope you will join me in the learning.

Damian Marley @asteroidproject is our host this week

Please tell us a little about your background in education. Why did you decide to become involved in education? What are some of the roles you’ve had and what does your current role involve?

I’ve been teaching since mid-2005, after a decade working in retail. I changed careers after a lightbulb moment and a voice in my head that told me to teach. I’ve worked in a variety of Primary schools and year levels and I’ve been Principal of Warburton Primary School, a small school in the upper Yarra Valley, since 2014.

Who or what keeps you inspired and motivated in your work?

The kids keep me inspired and the motivation is to continually improve myself, to continually motivate my staff and to continually grow the school in every way possible.

What do you see as some of the biggest rewards and challenges for people working in education today?

This is a human role and the rewards come when the relationships grow, the faces smile and the brains expand. The challenges are immense and they centre around how best to best meet the needs of all our students.

If you had the ability to make changes to the education system in Australia, what would you do?

I would increase the targeted funding to Government schools, in order to get more people on the ground to push our kids further and higher. I would want to redress the primacy of school choice. Choice is very important, but it needs to be balanced by appropriate community-building measures.

What role do you see EduTweetOz playing on the education scene in Australia and what are your hopes for the account this week?

My hope is to share the adventures of a Principal this week. EduTweetOz brings educators together across the sectors. Or settings are varied but at the centre we all have students who need us.

 

Taking on hosting duties this week is Angie Taylor

Please tell us a little about your background in education. Why did you decide to become involved in education? What are some of the roles you’ve had and what does your current role involve?

After a few years of overseas travel, I found myself at a major cross-road in my life. I decided to enroll in a Bachelor of Primary Education at the University of Technology at the now defunct Ku-ring-gai Campus in Lindfield. The beautiful leafy campus tucked into Sydney suburbia is where I arrived as a mature aged student – pregnant, divorced, with a one year old.

I did end up having to skip a semester but then made it up with summer school completing my degree half a year later than my peers. The practicums I undertook were with the guidance of amazing educators. They confirmed for me my love of teaching and let me know that I was taking the right path.

As a targeted graduate, I had the good fortune to teach at a range of schools across Sydney and am now an Assistant Principal at Boronia Park Public in Sydney’s inner northern suburbs.

 

Who or what keeps you inspired and motivated in your work?

I live to connect with others. I’m driven by the connections I make with students across my school and in my class. I’m driven by a passionate desire to make things better for them, for our community and the teachers in my school. The smiles, the hi-fives and hugs, those amazing light bulb moments are a panacea to the hum drum of reports and administrative requirements of our job. The joy I get out of connecting with other educators feeds my desire to do better, but also reinvigorates my passion for education.

People come into your life to teach you lessons and my life has seen a vast array of that. I’ve been motivated to do better by people that have challenged my drive and determination and have been inspired to succeed by teaching alongside some amazing educators and leading under some amazing principals.

I love to build collective teacher efficacy through sharing and collaborating with others as well as being involved in Teachmeets, Twitter and Yammer where I’ve connected with educators from around the world.

I’m passionate about technology, creating websites, blogs etc. and took a year off class to just teach through technology while beginning my Masters in Educational Leadership. I’m continually trying to build my capacity as an educator and leader and have already completed the DoE’s management credential to further my understanding of running a school.

I am also chair of the Lane Cove River Alliance – a group of eleven local schools and through them we’re organising a 400+ staff development day around Wellbeing. This direction came out of analysing the needs of staff from their feedback following the inaugural SDD of which I was also a part.

Above all, the continual support of my husband and children keeps me motivated and able to focus on the many tasks at hand.

 

What do you see as some of the biggest rewards and challenges for people working in education today?

One of the biggest challenges facing teachers today is the disconnect between public perceptions of our roles and the reality of the difficulties, and limitations, that we have to deal with every day. This gap in understanding may never be bridged!

The rewards, however, are abundant.

 

If you had the ability to make changes to the education system in Australia, what would you do?

My first step would be to ensure that all schools, government or independent, enjoyed equal base funding across all levels of government. Then, make it more equitable for schools dealing with educationally disadvantaged students such as students with disabilities, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, students with limited English language proficiency, low socioeconomic status (SES) students, and students in regional, rural and remote areas to access additional funding where required.

 

What role do you see EduTweetOz playing on the education scene in Australia and what are your hopes for the account this week?

I’m hoping that EduTweetOz will further connect teachers across the country – if not the world! – and help us all become better informed on those subjects that we hold dear as well as those we are yet to discover. My passion for collective teacher efficacy is building one teacher at a time.

On a personal note, I hope that many of you will reach out and connect with me on Twitter. You can find me @Angie8881

Please welcome Michael Sky as this week’s host

18741609_10155291288641866_628332772_n_FotorPlease tell us a little about your background in education. Why did you decide to become involved in education? What are some of the roles you’ve had and what does your current role involve?

I was a professional uni student for a number of years, by accident not design. I studied a Bachelor of Arts at Macquarie University, intending to do education, and I went to my first day to enrol and they asked if I was enrolling in primary or secondary. To that point I hadn’t thought about that choice and on the spot chose secondary. I decided to major in History and have Maths as my minor, and it was only when I did my first prac in 3rd year that I knew secondary teaching was not for me.

I completed a Bachelor of Arts in History and then went and did a degree in music at Southern Cross in Lismore, the first time I had lived outside of Sydney. That was the first step in me leaving Sydney forever.

After that degree I moved to Newcastle and was playing in some bands and teaching private music tuition. After a few years of doing that I went back to uni to do a Dip Ed in primary teaching. I got a job from uni as a 5/6 classroom teacher in Wollongong, but after a chance conversation with a colleague decided to move to London and teach, which I did for two years. Coming back to Newcastle as a casual was difficult in terms of gaining permanency, so I started applying for jobs in rural NSW. I was successful in gaining employment at North Star in 2011 on the 3/4/5/6 class. I planned to stay 3 years in North Star, but stayed 5 and a half. I probably was thinking about moving somewhere else for about 12 months when my current role was advertised. As principal of a small school that was only 25kms down the road from where I had taught for more than 5 years, it seemed like a good way to get into a leadership role in my own school. 6 months on and I have no regrets about taking on my current role. As a teaching principal in a small rural school, you get a degree of freedom to try a wide range of ideas.

Who or what keeps you inspired and motivated in your work?

The things that keep me inspired are, for me, the very things that our schools exist for, students and the community. I am very blessed at the moment to have the most lovely group of students I have ever taught, but even when I have more difficult students and or families, I am motivated to find a way to connect that child with their learning. I am also inspired by a number of educators that I have met through social media, including Twitter and Yammer. I have found these forums amazing for connecting with people who in general I think are far smarter than me, yet are usually so friendly and sharing with their ideas and approaches to teaching. This is doubly so for leadership. I must admit I haven’t had any great leaders in the schools I’ve worked in, but I have met leaders through social media that have given me real focus in how I approach education through their experiences and willingness to share

What do you see as some of the biggest rewards and challenges for people working in education today?

For me education is all about the students. They are the challenges, but working with them to help them improve and want to improve is the reward. The other challenge is the amount of reform that has come into education over the past few years much of which can prove a distraction to the everyday job of teaching the students.

If you had the ability to make changes to the education system in Australia, what would you do?

I would give rural schools a lot more money!

I think the urban/rural divide remains a major issue and I am not sure there is really an earnest attempt to improve access for and the achievements of rural students. It is also concerning when you look at how many small schools have been closed in the last 10 years and you can’t help but wonder if small schools will survive in the future when the focus of governments is economic rather than service based.

What role do you see EduTweetOz playing on the education scene in Australia and what are your hopes for the account this week?

I think it is good that there is a way in which all the different parts of the education sectors can be bought together through this account. No one is an expert of everything, but this at least allows a range of voices to share their ideas, engage in discussions and inform people of differing experiences.

I hope to be able to discuss leadership, experience of teaching rurally and anything else that grabs my attention during the week. Would love it if there was anyone thinking of teaching rurally who would let me convince them to give it a go.​

Welcome Michael Walker (@krustyklo)

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Please tell us a little about your background in education. Why did you decide to become involved in education? What are some of the roles you’ve had and what does your current role involve? 

My name is Michael Walker and I am currently a secondary teacher at a middle suburban secondary college in Melbourne, Victoria.

I completed my VCE in 1989 and was interested even then in teaching, putting education degrees in my list of preferences for university courses. However, my parents had a belief that I would be more interested in engineering and so I put those first above the teaching degrees, and received my first choice of engineering course, along with a scholarship. I believe that I dodged a bullet there as I would   have been graduating around the time the Kennett government was closing schools. Even now there are nowhere near as many people my age employed as teachers than people much younger or older than I am.

Whilst there were parts of the engineering course that interested me, much of it I found boring and couldn’t see myself doing that as a career for the rest of my life. In addition I struggled with the transition to university from the high school environment. Fortunately the engineering course had a six month work experience component, and I did work experience at a small IT company fixing hardware and providing helpdesk support and they offered me a job. Fast forward six years and a number of different roles within the company and I found myself unemployed when the company was placed into administration and liquidated.

Whilst looking for another job, I happened across an old friend when going swimming one night, and he told me he had just changed jobs and his old IT job at an inner suburban school was available. I rang up the following day, was informed that they were interviewing for the job that day and if I could fax through my resume and turn up for an interview in 2 hours, they would interview me. As I walked in the door upon getting home from the interview, the phone rang offering me the job! My career in education had begun.

A significant part of my support job was classroom support, including opening one of the computer rooms at lunchtimes, and I quite enjoyed the classroom part of the IT job and interacting with students, as well as the opportunity to learn new things all the time. In my first year I had a small but life changing experience that pushed me towards teaching. I had taken the class set of laptops into a class for some publicity photos but the photographer was running quite late. So there I was in a classroom with a class of year 8s, the principal and the normal classroom teacher, all of us standing around with the need to do something productive. I’m not sure exactly how it happened but I was invited to show the kids something, anything, on the laptops. So I started showing them how to compose a budget in Excel, and kept going for most of the 50 minutes until the end of the period with the students engaged and productive. As we walked out, I was asked if I’d ever considered taking up teaching as I had apparently done quite well!

Towards the end of that year, my manager pulled me aside and was openly honest about how he understood that schools didn’t pay IT staff much compared to industry, but they were very happy with my work and he wanted to negotiate alternative ways to keep me at the school, with one of the suggestions being time off to do a university course part time. With the earlier experience fermenting in my mind, I jumped at the chance to do a Bachelor of Science / Education at Deakin, and did so starting in 1999.

However, whilst I was able to juggle full time work, part time study, and home life having also married in 1999; after 5 years personal circumstances meant I had to discontinue the course to prioritise my family but I continued working at the school doing IT support.

After doing the same job for 10 years, circumstances changed and financially I was in a position to complete what I had started, so left my job and commenced a 4 year full time degree at LaTrobe University undertaking a Bachelor Science / Science Education majoring in Maths and a submajor of Computer Science.

A teaching friend offered advice that I should start looking for jobs from June in my last year, and sure enough my current job was advertised in July, and I was the successful applicant.

I have taught Science in junior years up until this year, Maths in junior years, VCE IT and Software Development, and this year  started teaching the new Digital Technologies subject to Year 8 classes. Last year I took on a role co-managing the year 8 Maths team and this year have been doing that role by myself as my co-leader took on another role.

In Victoria, there are 2 pay categories (starting at 1-1 to 1-5, then 2-1 upwards). As part of stepping up pay grades from 1 to 2 this year, I had to add a responsibility role so after discussion with the relevant Assistant Principal wrote my own role as Digital Technologies Coordinator responsible for implementing and managing the new DigiTech curriculum in our school. I was also persuaded to take on a subrole supporting the Arts/ Technology domain coordinators in promoting and implementing the Design technologies curriculum in the school.

Who or what keeps you inspired and motivated in your work?

On an intrinsic level, I am really motivated by the challenge of understanding and implementing curriculum in pedagogically appropriate ways. I love learning new things about the content and how to teach it in ways students can engage with it, understand it and, most importantly, apply it in meaningful ways.

On an extrinsic level, I enjoy spending time around students and talking with them about life, the universe, and everything. Students want to learn, are curious about the world, and some of the best discussions I have had about the content or other topics have been completely spontaneous in the yard during yard duty, or even on the 902 bus on the way home!

I also enjoy the company and support of my colleagues, and appreciate the differences we all have and the way they contribute to all of us moving forward in our understanding and knowledge of what we do. Or maybe I just enjoy the bad puns and dad jokes… 🙂

What do you see as some of the biggest rewards and challenges for people working in education today?

Whilst it seems to be a cliché, I believe the education system in Australia, and indeed the world, is at a crossroads. The rewards will come from choosing the right ways forward, the challenge is in determining what they are. You could write an encyclopedia (you know, that thing that is like a book version of Wikipedia) about the challenges in education – and obviously many, many people have.

The big challenges I see are both old and new ones. The challenge of “what works” in the classroom to maximise learning is an old problem – there have been disengaged students since the start of mass education. How to respond to compliant but disengaged students playing the game without really learning. The challenge of whether we should respond to a changing society or whether the old ways still work best. How to coexist with those staff we work with on the other side of that fence. The challenge of increased expectations and the increased workload that goes with that, but without the increased resourcing needed to do it to an acceptable level, let alone to the high standard it is increasingly apparent we need to be aiming for if we want our students to genuinely be successful in the post-secondary world. Most teachers I have spoken with openly about this issue admit they can only do their job to between 50% and 70% of the standard they would like to achieve. The challenge of recognising student success and wellbeing will be best achieved with recognising that teacher wellbeing also needs to be recognised. A teacher struggling with their own issues isn’t going to give 100% to their students – Jane Caro expressed it really well in this podcast: https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/wilosophy-with-wil-anderson/id951354264?mt=2#

Lastly, the challenges of education responding to a changing society including the increasing pervasiveness of digital technology and information communication and technology. How best to leverage this change to maximise learning, be relevant in society, and if/how the role of teachers, education leaders, governmental educational leaders / politicians, and institutions needs to change.

On a personal level, the challenge is to continually improve, acknowledging that a teaching career is a marathon, not a sprint. I also struggle with finding like-minded people around me so that we can mutually develop based on our shared beliefs and challenges. This is one godsend of the internet and forums like Twitter and EduTweetOz.

The rewards? On a personal level when students understand ideas. More importantly, when I have been able to reignite hope in students who have lost hope. Schools can be quite hostile places and lots of students have checked out by the end of middle school. For the system itself, if it can respond to the challenges, the rewards will be a new generation ready to engage productively with the world they are entering, rather than being inadequately prepared for a world that no longer exists.

If you had the ability to make changes to the education system in Australia, what would you do?

At the very least, I would recognise the need for change, and that change needs to be resourced, most critically with time. The expectation of teaching as a vocation meaning it is acceptable for teachers to give up significant amounts of their own time to maintain the status quo, let alone create innovation at a grassroots level, needs to end. Yes, there are other jobs where people do work in their own time. IT, the industry I came from is one – but the pay rates for professional IT jobs requiring after hours work is multiples of that for teachers without the need for dealing with teenage angst!

What role do you see EduTweetOz playing on the education scene in Australia and what are your hopes for the account this week?

I have been a follower of the EduTweetOz account almost from the day I first joined Twitter. In my teaching it has played a role in continuously feeding me a serendipity of new ideas. Even when I have disagreed with the weekly account facilitator, it has been an opportunity to clarify why I have such a strong reaction to a comment or concept, and what I think and the logical basis behind it. I see this as being a continuing strength of accounts such as these, and I don’t see the need for that diminishing at all in the foreseeable future. Teachers need intellectual stimulation, exposure to new ideas, and in many schools / faculty teams that doesn’t exist or is actively discouraged in favour of maintaining the status quo – and online forums are a great way to do that.

My hope for the account this week is to generate discussion on the role of education in wider society, the role of teachers, the role of students, of schools; the day to day trials, tribulations, and rewards of teaching; and the role of technology in making teachers more efficient and/or education more engaging and relevant. Be gentle with me!

 

Introducing Belinda Faulkner (@belindateaches)

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Please tell us a little about your background in education. Why did you decide to become involved in education? What are some of the roles you’ve had and what does your current role involve?

I started training as QA manager in pharmaceuticals – 89 staff from 24 different nationalities so I quickly learnt to be engaging & innovative. GMP is not the most stimulating tonic. Since then I’ve done training across a wide range of industries and subjects. Most recently resilience training for long term unemployed in which I had 100% retention rate of participants. In 2014 I was diagnosed with MS which saw me decide to do something I’d thought about for 20+ years – teaching. Now doing M.teach(sec) to be a science teacher.

Who or what keeps you inspired and motivated in your work?

I think I have something to offer as I’ve worked in science and done jobs for 20 of 26 letters of the alphabet. The people I’ve mentored who like to remind me I’m awesome and the people in MS forums inspire and motivate me.

What do you see as some of the biggest rewards and challenges for people working in education today?

The biggest reward I think is being part of the moment when someone “gets” something. The biggest challenge is to get ahead and realise soft skills are actually hard and they aren’t 21st century skills, they’re 20th century skills and we’re behind. Also catching up with the fact many adults weren’t ever taught soft skills.

If you had the ability to make changes to the education system in Australia, what would you do?

Start from the ground up and revolutionise teacher education professional development.

What role do you see EduTweetOz playing on the education scene in Australia and what are your hopes for the account this week?

Starting discussion and debate on current issues. I want to start some discussion especially on soft skills.